Concentrating solar power: parabolic trough with 20% gas boost (CSP-PT+20%)

Craig, Ian and Thorpe, David and Kamel, Fouad and Goh, Steven (2010) Concentrating solar power: parabolic trough with 20% gas boost (CSP-PT+20%). In: 2010 Southern Region Engineering Conference (SREC 2010), 11-12 Nov 2010, Toowoomba, Australia.

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Concentrating Solar Power – Parabolic Trough (CSP-PT) installations consist of linear parabolic mirrors which concentrate solar energy to heat tubes of oil or salt to high temperatures, typically to several hundred degrees centigrade. The thermal energy produced can be stored to enable continuous 24-hour operation of the turbine generator, but this option is generally expensive. As an alternative, a ~20% boost from natural gas can be deployed, which enables the plant to operate continuously. The main purpose of this paper is to investigate if the CSP-PT +20% gas boost technology would present the best option for Australia to address its growing energy demand.
There is a lack of detailed literature on the topic, but an initial investigation has revealed that generating solar power using CSP-PT +20% gas would only be about twice as expensive as fossil derived power (10 US cents compared to 5 US cents per kWhr). Whether due to future shortage of supply or carbon taxation policy, the price of fossil fuel then only to double to make CSP-PT+ 20% gas technology very competitive – significantly more competitive than most other forms of renewable or non-renewable energy production.
Given a satisfactory emission trading scheme in Australia and globally, CSP-PT +20% could be the future energy choice for Australia, and other hot countries where sunshine and dry flat land are abundantly available. CSP-PT+20% sites would have to be located not too far away from existing power transmission lines, and where natural gas was locally available. An initial market price of ~10 US cents per kWhr would be required to make CSP-PT+20% technology economically viable, but this could fall substantially with economies of scale, as we progress gradually into a low carbon economic future.
Land with better soil quality and higher rainfall is able to produce biofuel, but frequent severe droughts and poor soil preclude this option for most of Australia. CSP-PT+20% technology thus presents a very attractive option in terms of providing energy security for Australia, and enabling transition to a low carbon economy. Future research is required to be carried out jointly by resource economists and engineers to see if CSP-PT+20% can be executed in Australia, even more cheaply than 10 US cents per kWhr. There may be some possibilities to reduce labour costs of manufacture if composite materials are used for the mirrors, for example.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: USQ conference.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Agricultural, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2011 07:33
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2013 04:51
Uncontrolled Keywords: solar power; parabolic trough; solar concentration; thermal energy
Fields of Research : 09 Engineering > 0906 Electrical and Electronic Engineering > 090605 Photodetectors, Optical Sensors and Solar Cells
09 Engineering > 0906 Electrical and Electronic Engineering > 090608 Renewable Power and Energy Systems Engineering (excl. Solar Cells)
09 Engineering > 0907 Environmental Engineering > 090703 Environmental Technologies
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960302 Climate Change Mitigation Strategies

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